Robert B. Livingston
August 3, 2013
Reality and the Responsibility of the Journalist
Two men of broad learning and "good taste" discuss the chief responsibilities of journalists.
The program centers on a disagreement raised between Richard D. Heffner, the host, and Roger Rosenblatt, the acclaimed essayist and then, a senior writer at Time Magazine.
Heffner describes his observations that journalists elucidate events best by incorporating an historical and judgmental perspective when reporting the news.
Rosenblatt, however, makes the case that the best journalism is burdened by these additional responsibilities which are different from a historian's or artist's obligations.
He argues that the journalist's chief responsibility is to report facts as they are observed: "to tell the truth, to make sure people know what happened as much as they can, and to give a fair representation to most sides, all the sides, they can see, so that people are capable of reaching judgements on their own." Rosenblatt makes a distinction between reporters and writers of opinion.